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Politics 88 : Greek Community Gives Dukakis Warm Welcome

June 06, 1988|BOB DROGIN and DAVID LAUTER | Times Staff Writers

Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis resumed his California campaign late Sunday by proudly invoking his Greek roots and joining costumed children in a folk dance in South Los Angeles.

Arriving for a final campaign swing before Tuesday's last round of primaries, Dukakis was greeted by more than 750 enthusiastic supporters at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

"Only in America," Dukakis, the son of Greek immigrants, told the cheering crowd. In an unusual display Bishop Anthony, spiritiual head of the Greek Orthodox Church's seven Western states region, briefly removed his formal black hat and cowl to welcome Dukakis as a "proud, proud private citizen." The crowd cheered as the bishop kissed Dukakis on both cheeks.

Earlier Sunday in a campaign swing in New Jersey, which also holds its primary Tuesday, Dukakis appealed for party unity, welcoming the Rev. Jesse Jackson's plan to continue campaigning even after the nomination has been decided.

But while Dukakis praised Jackson, his words were couched in terms that gave no encouragement to those among Jackson's advisers who want their candidate to press for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket.

"I expect he'll be out there campaigning hard for the Democratic ticket in the fall," said Dukakis, but he added that so too will "other important party leaders, people all across the country."

On Saturday, Jackson told reporters that he plans to continue a full campaign schedule after Tuesday, when California, New Jersey, Montana and New Mexico hold the final primaries of the year. Jackson, seeking support for his political goals, will retain his chartered campaign plane and will continue to schedule speeches and rallies at least until the Democratic convention in Atlanta in mid-July, he said.

Dukakis, for his part, has been telling campaign audiences that he hopes to have the party's nomination locked up after Tuesday's primaries. Most professional politicians expect that prediction to be borne out, and increasingly, Dukakis' audiences appear to do so, as well.

Speaking near a spectacular waterfall in Paterson, on the site of one of the nation's earliest industrial mills, Dukakis touted once again his efforts to revitalize aging cities in Massachusetts, saying that as President he could help do the same for cities elsewhere.

For the first time in his campaign, the normally bland Dukakis has begun to pick up star quality. As he campaigned across New Jersey during the weekend, elderly voters pushed through crowds to catch a glimpse of him, and parents placed children on their shoulders, telling them to take a look at "the next President."

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